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July 2013

Nature Notes from East Yorkshire
For much of July I have been out enjoying our garden and the countryside of East Yorkshire, learning how to get the best out of my new macro lens and simply enjoying the wonders and beauties of summer in this most pleasant of lands. The weather has been pretty outstanding throughout with abundant sunshine and high temperatures and this has all meant that it has been a great time for much (though not all) of our wildlife.

The first Marbled Whites of the year were recorded in the Yorkshire Wolds towards the beginning of the month, and numbers have been encouragingly healthy with one sheltered dale we visited between Huggate and Thixendale being full of these pied coloured beauties, many of whom were seen in pairs and therefore ensuring their continued presence in this secluded little spot. Chimney Sweepers, Six-spot Burnets, Ringlets and Skippers were also seen in good numbers at this little known and undisturbed area of chalkland meadow and it was also good to see a good variety of wildflowers and grasses, including the likes of Quaking Grass and members of the Vetch family.

We also went dragonfly and damselfly hunting to both North Cave Wetlands and North Cliffe Wood during the month, though due to the merciless and bird sized mosquitoes (admittedly a slight exaggeration) at North Cliffe Wood we have not returned there since ! However our time at this small area of lowland acid grassland/heathland did bring us some good sightings of Emerald Damselflies (one of my favourites) as well as Common Blue & Azure Damselfly.

Our visits to North Cave Wetlands proved to be much less painful experiences with a larger variety of Dragonflies/Damselflies being recorded, as well as a good variety of butterflies. 7 species of Odonata were recorded on the 22nd with Common Blue Damselfly (abundant), Blue-tailed Damselfly (frequently seen but in not as large numbers as the Common Blues), Brown Hawker (just the one), Emperor Dragonfly (two or three), Four-spotted Chasers (half a dozen), Black-tailed Skimmers (5) and Common Darter (2).

Butterflies meanwhile were represented by Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns, Ringlets, Small Tortoiseshells, Peacocks and a variety of Whites, with a few day flying moths including Six-spot Burnet and Pale Straw Pearl (Udea lutealis), and lots of Cinnabar caterpillars. An extra bonus was a small raft of nine Common Scoters during one of our visits, plus a healthy number of young Avocets feeding on the new parts of the reserve and plenty of other youngsters including Little Ringed Plovers, Common Terns and an abundance of Hirundines.

2nd July
Peppered Moth x2, Dark Arches x3, Uncertain x2, Heart & Dart x8, Large Yellow Underwing x2, Ingrailed Clay x1, Common Marbled Carpet x1, Brimstone x1, Buff Ermine x2, Bright-line Brown-eye x1, & Large Ivy Tortrix (NFY) x1

4th July
Buff Arches (NFY) x1, Riband Wave x2, Common Marbled Carpet x1, Barred Yellow (NFY) x1, Freyer's Pug x1, Common Pug x1, Double-striped Pug x1, Brimstone x4, Scalloped Hazel x1, Peppered Moth x1, Willow Beauty x1, Light Emerald x1, Elephant Hawk-moth x1 (2nd of the year), Buff Ermine x2, Turnip Moth (NFY) x1 (black form), Heart & Dart x13, Large Yellow Underwing x2, Double Square-spot (NFY) x1, Bright-line Brown-eye x6, Dark Arches x4, Light Arches (NFY) x1, Dusky Brocade (NFY) x1, Rustic Shoulder-knot x1, Marbled Minor agg. x3 (x1 possible Tawny Marbled Minor), Uncertain x5, Rustic (NFY) x1, Mottled Rustic x1, Burnished Brass (NFY) x1, Plain Golden Y x1, Fan-foot x2, Common Marble x3, Barred Fruit-tree Tortrix x5, Large Ivy Tortrix x2, Light Brown Apple Moth x1, Garden Grass-veneer x2, & Brown House Moth x1

6th July
Common Marbled Carpet x4, Small Angle Shades x3, Peppered Moth x3, Heart & Dart x24, Fan-foot x2, Burnished Brass x2, Clouded Silver x1, Brimstone x1, Riband Wave x8, Common Pug x3, Rustic Shoulder-knot x2, Silver Y x1, Marbled Minor agg. x3, Poplar Hawk Moth (NFY) x1, Uncertain x8, Large Yellow Underwing x6, Mottled Rustic x3, Green Pug x3, Bright-line Brown-eye x1, Dark Arches x3, Silver-ground Carpet x1, Light Arches x1, Scalloped Hazel x1, Willow Beauty x1, Double Square-spot x2, Buff Ermine x2, Small Magpie x1, Clouded Border (NFY) x1, Figure of Eighty (NFY) x1, Marbled Beauty(NFY) x2, Bee Moth x3, Common Marble x2, Barred Fruit-tree Tortrix x5, Brown House Moth x1, Diamond Back-moth x1, Garden Grass Veneer x3, Light Brown Apple Moth x1, & Small Grey (NFY) x2.

7th July
Swallow-tailed Moth (NFY) x1, Green Pug x1, Willow Beauty x2, Light Emerald x3, Heart & Dart x15, Heart & Club (NFY) x1, Riband Wave x7, Uncertain x7, Scalloped Hazel x1, Mottled Rustic x1, Small Angle Shades x1, Burnished Brass x2, Rustic x5, Marbled Minor x1, Fan-foot x1, Dark Arches x1, Brimstone x1, Buff Ermine x1, Common Marbled Carpet x1, Bright-line Brown-eye x1, Beautiful Plume x1, Common Marble x3, Green Oak Tortrix (NFY) x1, Garden Grass Veneer x1, Bird-cherry Ermine (NFY) x1, Bee Moth x3, Barred Fruit-tree Tortrix x6, Small Magpie x1, Little Grey (NFY) x1, White-shouldered House Moth x1, Large Ivy Tortrix x2, Red-barred Tortrix (NFY) x1, Light Brown Apple Moth x1, & Garden Pebble (NFY) x1.

9th July
Riband Wave x9, Light Emerald x2, Fan-foot x2, Willow Beauty x3, Buff Arches x2, Heart & Dart x18, Ingrailed Clay x3, Uncertain x5, Double Square-spot x5, Green Carpet x1, Bright-line Brown-eye x4, Rustic x5, Common Pug x3, Buff Ermine x4, Small Angle Shades x2, Garden Carpet x1, Dark Arches x7, Brimstone x1, Large Yellow Underwing x8, Marbled Minor agg. x1, Peppered Moth x1, Poplar Hawk Moth x1, Double-striped Pug x1, Mottled Rustic x1, Common Marbled Carpet x1, Marbled Beauty x1, Common Footman (NFY) x2, Flame Shoulder x2, Mottled Beauty (NFY) x2, Grey Arches (NFY) x3, Dot Moth (NFY) x1, Cabbage Moth x1, Wormwood Pug (NFY) x1, Common Marble x1, Barred Fruit-tree Tortrix x4, Garden Grass Veneer x2, Pearl Veneer (NFY) x1, Bee Moth x1, & Light Brown Apple Moth x2.

13th July
Swallow-tailed Moth x7, Small Fan-foot x2, Brimstone x7, Riband Wave x16, Willow Beauty x8, Fan-foot x14, Dark Arches x15, Snout x5, Dark/Grey Dagger x14, Green Carpet x1, Heart & Dart x25, Light Emerald x2, Uncertain x12, Mottled Beauty x1, Marbled Minor agg. x9, Common Footman x2, Green Pug x1, Peppered Moth x2, Small Angle Shades x8, Bright-line Brown-eye x10, Ingrailed Clay x2, Double-striped Pug x2, Clouded Silver x1, Common Marbled Carpet x1, Common Pug x1, Dot Moth x7, Light Arches x1, Mottled Rustic x2, Grey Arches x1, Double Square-spot x2, Rustic x4, Elephant Hawk-moth x1, Garden Carpet x2, Burnished Brass x1, Large Yellow Underwing x4, Buff Arches x1, Silver-ground Carpet x1, Flame (NFY) x1, Straw Dot (NFY) x1, Marbled Beauty x6, Poplar Grey (NFY) x1, Cabbage Moth x1, Sycamore(NFY) x1 (though not confirmed yet), Grey Pine Carpet x1, Heart & Club x1,Common Emerald (NFY) x1, Small Magpie x3, Garden Grass Veneer x6,Common Grey (NFY) x3, Small Grey x3, Beautiful Plume x3, Barred Fruit-tree Tortrix x3, Large Ivy Tortrix x2, Green Oak Tortrix x1, Large Fruit-tree Tortrix (NFY) x1, Red-barred Tortrix x1, Bee Moth x2, Light Brown Apple Moth x4, Mother of Pearl (NFY) x1, & Bird-cherry Ermine x1.

16th July
Riband Wave x13, Green Pug x1, Light Emerald x3, Rustic x6, Wormwood Pug x1, Marbled Minor agg. x7, Dark/Grey Dagger x4, Heart & Dart x12, Bright-line Brown-eye x3, Uncertain x12, Grey Arches x2, Fan-foot x1, Dark Arches x11, Large Yellow Underwing x4, Brimstone x1, Mottled Beauty x1, Angle Shades x1, Dot Moth x5, Swallow-tailed Moth x2, Elephant Hawk-moth x1, Peppered Moth x5, Ingrailed Clay x1, Mottled Rustic x3, Common Footman x2, Common Marbled Carpet x1, Snout x1, Buff Ermine x1, Clouded Silver x1, Straw Dot x1,Common Carpet (NFY) x1, Varied Coronet (NFY) x1, Poplar Grey x1, Cabbage Moth x3, Light Arches x1, Common Rustic (NFY) x1, Beautiful Hook-tip (NFY) x1, Miller (NFY) x1, Marbled Beauty x3, Scalloped Oak(NFY) x1, Green Silver-lines x1, Antler Moth (NFY) x1, Flame Shoulder x1,White Satin Moth (NFY) x1, Barred Straw (NFY) x1, Barred Yellow x1, Common Grey x8, Small Grey x6, Little Grey x2, Garden Grass Veneer x7, Common Marble x3, Large Ivy Tortrix x1, Light Brown Apple Moth x2, Bee Moth x2, Barred Fruit-tree Tortrix x2, Dark Fruit-tree Tortrix x1, and Maple Button (NFY) x1.

18th July
Willow Beauty x4, Brimstone x9, Dark/Grey Dagger x6, Bright-line Brown-eye x3, Light Arches x1, Riband Wave x19, Common Footman x11, Light Emerald x3, Swallow-tailed moth x4, Marbled Minor agg. x8, Heart & Dart x8, Dark Arches x20, Rustic x8, Flame Shoulder x3, Common Emerald x1, Marbled Beauty x6, Small Rivulet (NFY) x1, Large Yellow Underwing x5, Fan-foot x4, Spectacle x1, Uncertain x5, Dot Moth x2, Snout x3, Common Marbled Carpet x2, Plain Golden Y x1, Common Rustic x3, Cabbage Moth x1, Green Pug x1, Rustic Shoulder-knot x1, Mottled Rustic x2, Straw Dot x1, Beautiful Plume x1, Common Grey x5, Small Grey x5, Large Fruit-tree Tortrix x1, Barred Fruit-tree Tortrix x1, Garden Grass Veneer x5, Diamond-back Moth x1, Bee Moth x1, Light Brown Apple Moth x1, Large Ivy Tortrix x1, & Bird Cherry Ermine x1.

20th July
Common Footman x14, Double-striped Pug x4, Marbled Beauty x11, Fan-foot x9, Brimstone x3, Marbled Minor agg. x11, Buff Ermine x2, Common Pug x1, Dot Moth x17, Common Marbled Carpet x3, Riband Wave x30, Mottled Beauty x2, Dark Arches x40, Burnished Brass x4, Uncertain x7, Mottled Rustic x2, Common Rustic x4, Large Yellow Underwing x12, Flame x2, Rustic x11, Swallow-tailed Moth x8, Flame Shoulder x2, Common Carpet x1, Double Square-spot x3, Willow Beauty x3, Heart & Dart x18, Early Thorn x1, Light Emerald x4, Elephant Hawk Moth x1, Garden Carpet x1, Dark/Grey Dagger x3, Bright-line Brown-eye x11, Light Arches x1, Peppered Moth x2, Rustic Shoulder-knot x1, Wormwood Pug x2, Buff Arches x1, Dun-bar (NFY) x3, Common Emerald x2, Small Blood-vein (NFY) x1, Scarce Silver-lines (NFY) x1, Beautiful Hook-tip x1, Grey Arches x1, Barred Red (NFY) x1, Yellow-tail (NFY) x1, Brown-tail (NFY) x2, White Satin Moth x1, Miller x1, Green Arches (NFY) x1, Fen Wainscot (NFY) x1, Poplar Grey x1, Dark Fruit-tree Tortrix x2, Bird Cherry Ermine x16, Barred Fruit-tree Tortrix x2, Gold-ribbon Argent (NFY) x1, Maple Button x4, Large Fruit-tree Tortrix x1, Common Grey x5, Small Grey x4, Diamond-back Moth x1, Garden Grass Veneer x13, Mother of Pearl x4, Bee Moth x4 & Rosy Tabby (NFY) x1.

25th July
Clouded Border x2, Brimstone x7, Fan-foot x11, Bright-line Brown-eye x5, Swallow-tailed Moth x11, Large Yellow Underwing x8, Lesser Yellow Underwing (NFY) x2, Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing (NFY) x1, Marbled Beauty x3, Common Footman x19, Barred Red x1, Uncertain x8, Riband Wave x22, Heart & Dart x2, Common Pug x1, Green Pug x1, Double-striped Pug x1, Foxglove Pug (NFY) x1, Marbled Minor agg. x3, Dark Arches x12, Rustic x9, Single Dotted Wave (NFY) x2, Peach Blossom (NFY) x1, Common Emerald x1, Barred Straw x5, Mottled Beauty x2, Willow Beauty x2, Scalloped Oak x1, Double Square-spot x3, Common Rustic x7, Snout x1, Silver Y x1, Smoky Wainscot (NFY) x1, Burnished Brass x4, Large Twin-spot Carpet (NFY) x1, Dot Moth x4, Small Angle Shades x1, Early Thorn x1, Light Emerald x1, Buff Ermine x1, Clay (NFY) x1, Purple Clay (NFY) x1, Small Magpie x1, Bird-cherry Ermine x19, Orchard Ermine (NFY) x4, Dark Fruit-tree Tortrix x5, Barred Fruit-tree Tortrix x2, Light Brown Apple Moth x1, Large Ivy Tortrix x1, Large Fruit-tree Tortrix x1, Red-barred Tortrix x1, Mother of Pearl x9, Garden Grass Veneer x7, Pearl Veneer x1, Little Grey x5, Common Plume x1, Diamond-back Moth x1, Brown House Moth x2, Bee Moth x1, Gold-ribbon Argent x1, Maple Button x1, Elder Pearl (NFY) x1, Long-horned Flat-body (NFY) x1, Meal Moth (NFY) x1, & Grey Knot-horn (NFY) x2.

30th, Ryedale Show
We attended the Ryedale Show today, an event which is held annually near the town of Pickering in North Yorkshire, with this country show being one of two which I always try to attend every year (the other being the beautiful Nidderdale Show at Pateley Bridge in late September). The weather was for the most part sunny and warm, with temperatures climbing up to about 20 C, but one heavy but thankfully brief shower in mid-morning sent spectators and exhibitors alike fleeing into whatever shelter they could find. As ever the show was superbly organised with a good quality of livestock on show and interesting exhibitions and stalls, but what I enjoyed most, as always, was the quality of gorgeous equine flesh on show with some very fine horses (and riders) competing in both the showing rings and over the obstacles.

Horses are one of my great loves in this life, the beauty of theses fine animals being unequaled in the natural world as far as I am concerned, and though I don't come from a particularly 'horsey' background (though my step-uncle owned a few winning racehorses) I have always had an appreciation of these magnificent beasts and their role in the development of human society and especially agriculture prior to the mechanisation of farming in the 20th century. All too often the British horse world is thought of as being elitist and 'snobby' but some of the nicest people I have ever met have been fellow equestrian enthusiasts!

Some nice dogs were also to be found competing at the show, with a countless variety of breeds and dogs of many sizes, shapes and colours, and though I admit I am not the biggest dog lover in the world (the countryside around Beverley is full of many ignorant and selfish dog walkers whom come from the town), I do nevertheless appreciate many of the breeds for their value as working animals and of course just as companions whom bring joy and love to so many people. Besides most of the dogs at the show are not only well-bred but also well trained and I only wish that all dog owners cared as much about their animals as those we had the fortune to meet at Ryedale this year.

Here are a few more pics from this year's Ryedale Show, with an emphasis on livestock and vintage machinery. As you can see the standard of the animals on show was as high as ever with many being relatively fresh from the Great Yorkshire Show, which is now England's largest agricultural show, earlier in the month. The sheep and cattle were particularly well represented with countless breeds on show, but other livestock included Pigs, Goats, and Poultry. I also enjoyed watching the sheep-dog trials (I was always a big fan of One Man and his Dog when I was younger) though if I'm brutally honest the standard of trialing at Ryedale is somewhat lower than at Nidderdale Show, though considering the upland nature of Nidderdale and the dominance of sheep farming in that district it is not really that surprising (Ryedale being for the most part a largely arable area except for areas on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors and parts of the Yorkshire Wolds).

30th, Tranmire Bog
Last week we decided to head up to a location on the edge of the North York Moors which is well known for its Dragonflies, in particular two relatively scarce Yorkshire species, and after enjoying a drive through some lovely wooded countryside we finally arrived at Tranmire Bog, a scenic and pleasant spot on the edge of Wheeldale Moor. On the Moors themselves the heather is now flowering with a purple haze carpeting the vast and open expanse of this bleak yet beautiful landscape, and in the distance we noticed some of the grouse shooting butts of the Goathland & Wheeldale Estate which currently host sportsmen from all over the country, and indeed much further afield (whatever your views concerning the ethics of driven shooting one certainly cannot deny its value to the local economy).

Tranmire Bog itself is located beside a moorland stream on the edge of the Cropton Forest and is a small area of marshy ground which hosts some interesting wildlife, especially dragonflies which was the main reason for our visit on Tuesday afternoon. Three species of dragonfly were my principal targets, all of which I had never previously recorded, and after an unpromising start I eventually got my eye in and started to find what I was after. The first species I noted was Common Hawker (along with more numerous Migrant Hawkers) with a few seen hunting along the stream and above the heather.

After another quarter of an hour I finally managed to spot my first Keeled Skimmer of the afternoon, and as I searched the areas around the edge of the marsh I found a few more with at least half a dozen spotted. This species is an attractive species which looks very similar to the more familiar Black-tailed Skimmer and I was jolly pleased to finally tick off this species. Meanwhile I eventually managed to find the species which I wanted to see the most with at least four Golden-ringed dragonflies found right on the edge of the marsh, a couple of which posed for some distant but decent enough record shots. This is a large and very striking species of Dragonfly and after finding all three of my target species within half an hour I was over the moon and felt perfectly happy to spend the rest of the afternoon at this lovely spot just simply watching these beautiful insects.

Besides the dragonflies a few other interesting creatures were spotted during our time at Tranmire Bog, including a few Common Lizards, one of which I managed to get a few quick pics of before it scuttled away into its hidden sanctuary amongst the dense heather. A few species of butterfly were spotted too, though I failed to find any of the Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary’s which can be found occasionally at this site, but despite this disappointment it was a great afternoon and I thoroughly enjoyed my day up in the beautiful North Riding.